Monday, December 27, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

Magnet # 427:  Montgomery Zoo

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Me

Need an excuse to head out of the house today, or do you have a kid that's out of school on vacation and no idea what to do?  Well, you're in luck, because this is Visit the Zoo Day!  It's a great opportunity to stop by and see some of your favorite animals, and maybe even check out a few you've never encountered before.

The Montgomery Zoo, which is featured on this magnet, is probably the zoo I've visited the most during my lifetime, as it's in my hometown.  It was founded in 1920 as Oak Park Zoo and is the oldest zoo in the state.  Over time, it became so popular that it outgrew its first location and was moved to its current home in the northern part of the city in 1974, where it opened under its new name.  Since then, it's become even more impressive, particularly after a major 1989 renovation that expanded the size of the zoo to over 48 acres.  I remember traveling there both with school groups and my family during my childhood.  And seeing it both before and after the expansion was really something - it's almost been a completely new venue since then.  My favorite memory of the place is probably when I was in grade school and I connected with one of their adorable wallabies.  It was just so friendly and kept coming over to the fence when I was standing there and I felt so connected to it.  I'm not the kind of person who would ever touch an animal at the zoo, but I actually put my fingers through the fence and it let me pet it.    Leaving the zoo was tough that day, and I've never forgotten that cute little wallaby.  I had been planning on visiting it again during my trip home for the Christmas holiday, partly in preparation for this post.  I had really wanted to see the Christmas Light Festival that takes place there during the Holiday season, as I couldn't take them in at any other time of the year.  But the day we could have gone was pretty cold and I was under the weather (yep, I was sick for both Thanksgiving and Christmas of this year - we'll see how New Year's goes) so we decided it was best not to spend a few hours outside there.  But we did at least stop by so that I could pick up this souvenir and I did get a quick glimpse of the entrance to the facilities.  The train that spans the area was coming in at that moment, so that was fun to see and it was as impressive as I'd remembered.  I'll have to stop by on another visit home to see all of it again, even if I can't make it during December.

This particular year might not be the best time to venture out to the local zoo, as we're experiencing record low temperatures and terrible conditions across the nation.  And, yes, we even had snow flurries in Montgomery, so that was pretty remarkable.  On my drive home, I saw some snow on the ground, although none of it was really piled up.  This being the case, it might be better to watch a movie about the zoo.  One of my favorites is Fierce Creatures, which features Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, and is pretty darn funny.  Or you could read a book about the zoo, or perhaps donate to one via the Internet.  But only the hardiest - or nuttiest - will probably head out to the zoos themselves in some parts of the country.  Still, if you're lucky enough to be in warmer areas, you might have a great time stopping by to see the animals today.  I'm not sure why Visit the Zoo Day is held at such a potentially frigid time of the year, but perhaps the 2011 event will be a better time to actually visit in person around the nation.  Until then, curl up and keep the animals in mind as the temperatures continue to plummet outside.


  1. I did not know that the Montgomery Zoo began at Oak Park - learned something new already and the day has just begun.
    Best of luck in 2011 and hope you see it in with good health!